Bishop Auckland Town Council has pledged £2,000 to provide meals for children during the 2021 school holidays to help tackle hunger in the town.
According to the Feeding Britain charity, it is thought that up to 3 million children in the UK are at risk of going hungry during the school holidays, a statistic that Bishop Auckland Town Council says it is determined to help reduce.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jamie Blackburn, who represents Woodhouse Ward, has been passionate about helping the local community with holiday projects and hopes there will be a lasting legacy for the town.
Councillor Blackburn said: “As a Town Councillor for Woodhouse Close Ward, I see the excellent work done by the Auckland Youth and Community Centre (AYCC) and Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre (WCCCC).
“I believe that no child should be hungry. I wanted Bishop Auckland Town Council to work to complement their offer in trying to alleviate holiday hunger.
“Although we aren’t able to eradicate hunger, Bishop Auckland Town Council will continue to support services which assist our residents and their families.”
A spokesperson for the Town Council said: “We will be working with Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre and Auckland Youth and Community Centre to provide meals and activity packs through the Easter holiday to those struggling with holiday hunger from the Bishop Auckland Area.
“WCCCC will be preparing over 100 meals over two days and the AYCC will be supplying food parcels and activity packs over six days during the Easter break.”
The Town Council, with the support of Tesco, Bishop Auckland, are also donating 100 Easter Eggs to WCCCC to ensure as many children as possible have an enjoyable Easter break.
Anne Ramshaw from WCCCC said: “The ethos of our community centre is to help and support local people and the community by providing activities and services based on identified need and interest, especially helping those who are facing financial hardship and crisis situations.
“We are extremely grateful to Bishop Auckland Town Council for their support to enable our organisation to continue to provide meals for children in the local area over the holiday period.
“We understand the issues facing local people, especially in these unprecedented times and our dedicated team of staff and volunteers are committed to helping and supporting local people and the community.”
Between the two community groups, the Town Council will be helping to provide meals four times a week.
David McCreedy from AYCC said of the project: “AYCC are extremely delighted with the support from Bishop Auckland Town Council and their generosity in funding for some of our Easter Holiday Activities with Food programme.
“No family should have to worry about being able to provide for their children in the holidays. We are so pleased that the Town Council has helped to support children and their families across the area to food and activity packs during this coming Easter holidays.”
All three organisations hope that the project will not just cover the 2021 Easter Holidays but that we will be able to create a long lasting system of support, helping as many young people and their families as possible through the school holidays for the rest of the 2021 school term.
Meals will be available on Wednesdays from Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre and on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of week one and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of week two of the school Easter holiday from AYCC.
If you need support or would like donate either community project, contact Auckland Youth and Community Centre on 01388 604575 or Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre on 01388 602935.